Electric motor & 4WD?

Electric motors and hybrid cars are discussed and hyped everywhere. But what about an electric motor for off road cars with four-wheel drive?! Sounds strange – or has anyone heard about a socket in the middle of the desert or on top of a mountain? The SciTech team was curious if this might be possible in the future and was surprised by the discovery:


The idea is actually not a new one! In 1899, two German inventors came up with the idea to build an electric vehicle – and combined an Otto engine with an electric motor. The first hybrid car in the world was born. The vehicle was called “Lohner-Porsche” named after Ludwig Lohner and Ferdinand Porsche who invented and developed the car. The interesting thing is, that the Lohner-Porsche was also build with a four-wheel drive and could drive at a speed of 60km/h. Unfortunately, the batteries weighed about 1800 kg and the vehicle couldn’t drive long distances – so the vehicle was not successful.

Today, due to scarcity of resources, researchers all over the world again discovered the possibilities of electric motors. One of them is Dr. Maerz at the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen in South Germany.

The SciTech team visited the expert for power electronic systems in his institute and looked at the newest engines and techniques. Part of the visit was also a test drive in an Opel Ampera which is one of the latest hybrid electric cars.


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